Shivshankar Menon to brief them on Tuesday on measures taken by Centre

Amid strident criticism by the Bharatiya Janata Party of the government’s handling of the India-Pakistan skirmishes on the Line of Control (LoC), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, over telephone on Monday to apprise them of the latest developments.

Dr. Singh informed them that National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon would brief them on Tuesday on the situation and the measures taken by the government.

Since the border flare up last week, the BJP has been very critical of the government and charged it with being “weak” in dealing with Pakistan.

Last Wednesday, Ms. Swaraj issued a statement accusing the government of not responding to her party’s offer of unconditional support to any tough step it intended to take to send a strong signal to Islamabad. She said she had spoken to Mr. Menon and asked to him to convey to the Prime Minister that what happened on the LoC was unacceptable and that the government must take tough measures, which would have the BJP’s support.

“However, there is no response from the government so far. Unfortunately, we have a very weak government in the country. And weak governments are incapable of taking tough decisions,” she said, adding: “It is a matter of honour for the country. It is question of the morale of our armed forces. The government has to act. And it has to act tough.”

On Sunday Mr. Jaitley asked why Dr. Singh had not released a statement on the killing of the two Indian soldiers and the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

“This country has never been insulted in such a manner. And what it regrettable is that it has been six days since the incident. The Prime Minister is one of the tallest leaders of the country in a democracy… There has been no statement from him,” he said, adding that there was no clarity on the government's response to the incident.

“Which way will the relations with Pakistan go? Should the talks with Pakistan continue? What will be India's response? There is no word from the government.”

Mr. Jaitley said Pakistan had unleashed terror activities in India after losing a number of wars. “But look at the guts of that country, India keeps extending a hand of friendship, refrains from use of harsh language and their soldiers come into our territory, kill two soldiers, take the severed head of one of the soldiers back with them. This country has never been insulted in such a manner.”

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